When you go to work, don't leave your crime prevention sense at
home. Almost any crime that can happen at home or in your neighborhood,
can happen in the workplace. But common-sense prevention skills
can help make life at work safer for all.
Help Prevent Office Theft and Other Crimes
- Keep your purse, wallet, keys, or other valuable items with
you at all times or locked in a drawer or closet.
- Check the identity of any strangers who are in your office —
ask whom they are visiting and if you can help them find that
person. If this makes you uncomfortable, inform security or management
about your suspicions.
- Always let someone know where you'll be — whether it's coming
in late, working late, going to the photocopier or mail room,
going out to lunch or a meeting.
- If you bring personal items to work such as a coffee pot, a
radio, or a calculator, mark them with your name or initials and
an identification number.
- Report any broken or flickering lights, dimly lit corridors,
doors that don't lock properly, or broken windows. Don't wait
for someone else to do it.
- Be discreet. Don't advertise your social life or vacation plans
and those of your coworkers to people visiting or calling your
place of work.
Take a Look at Common Trouble Spots
- Reception area — Is the receptionist equipped with a panic
button for emergencies, a camera with a monitor at another employee's
desk, and a lock on the front door that can be controlled?
- Stairwells and out-of-the-way corridors — Don't use the stairs
alone. Talk to the building manager about improving poorly lighted
corridors and stairways.
- Elevators — Don't get into elevators with people who look out
of place or behave in a strange or threatening manner. If you
find yourself in an elevator with someone who makes you nervous,
get off as soon as possible.
- Restrooms — Attackers can hide in stalls and corners. Make
sure restrooms are locked and only employees have keys. Be extra
cautious when using restrooms that are isolated or poorly lighted.
- After hours — Don't work late alone. Create a buddy system
for walking to parking lots or public transportation or ask security
to escort you.
- Parking lots or garages — Choose a well-lighted, well-guarded
parking garage. Always lock your car and roll the windows up all
the way. If you notice any strangers hanging around the parking
lot, notify security or the police. When you approach your car,
have the key ready. Check the floor and front and back seats before
getting in. Lock your car as soon as you get in — before you
buckle your seat belt.
What about violence in the workplace?
Violence in the workplace takes many forms, from raised voices
and profanity or sexual harassment to robbery or homicide. While
homicide in the workplace is rising, 75 percent of work-related
homicides are committed by unknown assailants while committing a
robbery or other crimes. Despite media hype, the attacker usually
isn't a disgruntled coworker. To assess a workplace's vulnerability
to violence, ask yourself these questions.
- Is your office secure? Do you have easy-to-use phone systems
with emergency buttons, sign-in policies for visitors, panic buttons,
safe rooms, security guards, office access controls, good lighting,
and safety training?
- Does your employer take care in hiring and firing? Before hiring,
are employment gaps, history, references, and criminal and educational
records thoroughly examined? Are termination procedures defined
clearly with attention to advance notice, severance pay, and placement
- Could you recognize potentially violent employees? Signs of
stress that could erupt into violence include: depression, frequent
absences, talking in a louder-than-normal voice, being startled
easily, increased irritability and impatience, and concentration
and memory problems.
- Are you encouraged to report unusual or worrisome behavior?
Is there a clear, written policy that spells out procedures in
cases of violence and sanctions for violators? Make sure you know
to whom you should report unusual behaviors.
- Do you work in a supportive, harmonious environment? Is there
a culture of mutual respect? Does your employer provide an employee
assistance program (EAP)?
Return to Crime Prevention Tips
Crime Prevention Tips Provided by:
National Crime Prevention Council
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